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Showing posts from December, 2009

Third Friday of Advent--Anticipation of What?

The Bible readings in the Mosaic meditations for the Third Week of Advent show an interesting contrast and comparison: Zephaniah 3:14-20, Psalm 126, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, Luke 3:7-20 and the following additional readings: John 16:5-15, Romans 8:18-25. (All quotes from the Bible below are taken from the NLT.)

Because God's people had turned their backs on him, thinking all the while that they were honouring him, God sent them into exile.  This was particularly onerous to them because their religious and social life centred around Jerusalem and the temple therein.  Three times a year the men of Judah were to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the main feast days--days that reminded them of all God had done for them.  They couldn't do that in exile.  They couldn't offer sacrifices to God to atone for their sins and become spiritually cleansed without the temple.

Zephaniah talked about how God's people would be returned to Jerusalem.  Their troubles would be over, they w…

Third Wednesday of Advent—Anticipation and Grief

Advent is a time of waiting—waiting in anticipation for the coming of our Saviour.  An advent song has been repeating in my mind--just a couple of lines:
Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy praise.
It’s there when I wake up, it’s there as I drive; as I eat, as I go to sleep, it is always there.  But then, so is the Fount of all the blessings in my life. 

At my small group’s Christmas celebration last night, we passed a candle around the circle, each stating something we’re thankful for as we held the candle.   I spoke of how grateful I am for the church I am in and how I couldn’t have found a better church.

There are so many other things I could have expressed thanks for: I am safe in a warm house and warm clothes when the temperature plunges below -40, unlike the many homeless on our streets; I have a wonderful family; my marriage, which has been painful for most of its nearly 36 years, is becoming a source of joy; my sons are blessings to me in many ways—their l…

Third Sunday in Advent--Peace

(Inspired by Andy Wood's sermon at Winnipeg Centre Vineyard this morning.)

Peace is a common theme around Christmastime.  We remember the angels’ words to the shepherds the night of Jesus’ birth: “Peace on earth, good will to men.”  But where is the peace?  There is no peace in Afghanistan where we send our young men to fight and die; there is no peace for Christians in Indonesia and India who are harassed, terrorized and murdered by those who hate them; there is no peace in Somalia, rated as the worst country in the world because of anarchy and lawlessness.  There is no peace in the jails of Columbia, no peace for children whose parents are addicts to drink and drugs; no peace for the mentally ill whose thoughts torment them with lies of failure, worthlessness and worse.  There is no peace.

There was no peace in the days of American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  The Civil War was raging, his wife had died and his son had been seriously injured. He wrote a seven-verse poem whic…

Christmas Radio

Steve Bell, one of  Canada's top Christian recording artists,  has created an online radio station to play the Christmas music produced by his record company (are they still called "record companies"), Signpost Music.  I've been enjoying it so much that I thought I'd share it with you:

He's also got a great deal going on till the end of the month:  Buy ten CDs for $99.  That's ten dollars each and by listening to the music online, you'll have a good idea if you'd like it or not.

(No, he's not paying me to advertise for him.  I just like his music.)

Second Sunday of Advent--Hope

Today has been a bit more difficult than previous days.  I made breakfast but when I sat to eat, my stomach was so tied up in knots, I couldn't.  The knots stayed all through church and continue to clench my gut.  I'm crying more.  I think that's good.  After the pre-service prayer time, several people prayed for me.  Someone prayed that I would know it's okay to not be strong.  I think that's been a problem.  I'm accustomed to be strong for others and it's hard to be weak.  I need to be weak.  I am weak.  Is my exhaustion the result of working hard to stay strong?  I didn't think so but perhaps it is.

I think I'm out of touch with my emotions.  The only signs of grieving I recognize in me are the physical ones--tiredness, this knot in my stomach and the occassional grumpiness.  When I cry, there is no mental or emotional anguish.  I just cry.  Am I afraid to feel the emotions of grief?  Or are the emotions so strong my mind can't go there?


Mikael--The Most Vibrant, Imaginative, Daring, Loving, Fun Friend...

by Marita Obst
November 19, 2009

There are so many memories...and they are all tangled up in my life, growing up, first love, Christmases, hilarious family dinners, and a family that I love as much as if they were my own.

I first met Mikael when I was 16, and he was the first of all of his family to talk to me and try to get to know something about me, and I remember that the first conversation we ever had alone was a deep, complex and thought-provoking one. We talked about faith, and God, and love and I informed Erik later that day that his brother was very, very cool. Over time, that initial respect I had for Mikael only grew, as he became someone I loved as a brother. Over time I got to know all of the Chans better, and loved them all for their own incredible talents; Mons' humor and vast intelligence; Erik's openness, love and creativity; Konrad's honesty and joy; Debbie's wisdom, acceptance and patience; and Tom's generosity and warmth. Every one has changed m…

Peter Mikael Pan

by Lauren Kosta
November 22, 2009

To Peter Pan:  Mikael was so unique that to draw similarities to anyone else (even a fictional character) seems almost silly. Yet, what I saw when I looked at Kael’s adventures and the rather extreme games he invented, was someone who had somehow managed to keep hold of that childhood imagination that most of us lose as we grow up.  I remember one day we were going up the back alley to his house and for no apparent reason he climbed, laughing, into the tree in their back yard. I envied him in that moment as I did so many times.  When I was younger I loved climbing trees, but somewhere in my teens I developed cat like sensitivities in the form of fear of coming back down.  I’d cling to my life branch for much longer than I’d intended until someone coaxed me back down.  I watched Kael sitting on his throne of branches, even hanging upside down from his knees.  When he noticed his way up wasn’t as good for going back down (he had jumped into the tree off …

First Tuesday in Advent

Today is the first Tuesday in Advent.Somehow the first Sunday in Advent slipped by me—I was exhausted from the craft sale the day before and focused on getting through the planting of an oak tree in memory of Mikael.Advent is an important part of the Christian calendar.It is in the weeks leading up to Christmas that we prepare ourselves for Christmas.In our western culture, this usually means shopping, baking, decorating and lots of partying but it wasn’t always this way.It used to be a time of spiritual waiting and preparation.

For what do we wait?Christmas!Specifically, we wait for the day when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.In the church calendar, the celebration of Christmas begins on December 25 and continues for two weeks after.Christ’s birth was long ago, so as we wait and as we celebrate, we focus on that past event.But we wait for something yet to come—Jesus’ return to earth.He said he would come again and God always keeps his promises.

A few months ago I ordered and received Mos…